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Review M.Zuiko 300mm f/4 Pro - My impressions

Discussion in 'Reviews, Tests, & Shootouts' started by Mat - MirrorLessons, Jan 6, 2016.

  1. Mat - MirrorLessons

    Mat - MirrorLessons Mu-43 Veteran

    274
    Mar 10, 2013
    Turin
    Personally I am not into wildlife photography enough to make such an investment. Reviewing the lens gave me the opportunity to explore this genre and I admit that I am really enjoying it. However I am not sure I would go out every day or every weekend to photograph birds and other animals. I don't want to invest €2600 for a lens that stays home most of the time. If I wanted to get more serious about the genre, perhaps I would start with the Pana 100-300mm or the new 100-400mm and then eventually consider the Oly 300mm after gathering more experience. A 300mm prime is a very specialised lens and it is not easy to use without experience (I struggled the first days to be honest).

    I think that this lens is worth the money if wildlife is your favourite genre and you want the lens with the best quality. Also let's not forget that it is compatible with the MC-14 teleconverter which can be very important for this type of photography. Plus the Sync IS with the E-M1 is really impressive and that can help a lot as well.
     
  2. Mat - MirrorLessons

    Mat - MirrorLessons Mu-43 Veteran

    274
    Mar 10, 2013
    Turin
    I guess that the only way to know the precise T stop is to measure it in a lab. Once it gets DxO marked, we should have a good idea.
     
  3. eteless

    eteless Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 20, 2014
    Another genre where it's right at home is surf photography as you generally need all the reach you can get.

    It's a very specialist angle of view really, I think we can all agree on that :) 
     
    • Agree Agree x 4
  4. Mat - MirrorLessons

    Mat - MirrorLessons Mu-43 Veteran

    274
    Mar 10, 2013
    Turin
    True, the lens could be of great use for that as well.
     
  5. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    The brand new, latest, greatest stuff generally costs a lot. For example, when the Canon 24-70/2.8 II came out in 2012, it cost $2,300. No doubt there were a lot of people looking at their old, second-hand, sharp as can be Tamron 28-75 and wondering why anyone would pay the extra two grand. Others plunked for the new Canon and found it worth the money. Others yet waited for the price to come down by $500, which happened over time. I'm sure something similar will happen with the new Olympus.

    Most people cannot reliably hand hold a 600mm equivalent lens steady at 1/160s. When I did this review of the Panasonic 100-300, I needed 1/500s to get sharp shots and found myself having to use very high ISO more often than not. Even with f/4, most people will often need high ISO to hold a non-stabilized lens steady at this focal length equivalent. A stabilized viewfinder also helps a lot with framing at this focal length equivalent.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  6. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Legend

    Mar 21, 2014
    It is also possible to match exposures taken with a cine lens that is marked in T-stops (ideally with a clickless aperture for more precision) but that is a more involved process for sure.
     
  7. Mat - MirrorLessons

    Mat - MirrorLessons Mu-43 Veteran

    274
    Mar 10, 2013
    Turin
    I just published this little video below. Shot entirely hand held with the E-M1, 300mm Pro and MC-14. That's how good the Sync IS works.
    I used the M-IS1 setting.

     
    • Like Like x 7
    • Informative Informative x 1
  8. hoodlum

    hoodlum Mu-43 Veteran

    357
    Jul 16, 2012
    Toronto Canada
    WOW. This would allow me to do bird videos on the fly without having to carry a tripod.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2016
    • Like Like x 1
  9. JDS

    JDS Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    572
    Nov 11, 2014
    San Francisco, CA
    David Schultz
    The opening shot suggests this was shot not just handheld, but standing. If that is true, then... wow.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Lcrunyon

    Lcrunyon Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jun 4, 2014
    Maryland
    Loren
    Hi Mat,

    Great stuff. That Dual IS is amazing. I suppose it would be even better on the E-M5 Mk II. Some photographers suggest turning IS off when shooting BIF, claiming it slows down processing, and recommend just using shutter speeds of at least 1/1000 to get the desired sharpness. But I suspect that with IS this good, keeping it on would help a lot in keeping the bird in frame while panning. When you were shooting the earlier BIF shots, did you notice that to be the case?
     
  11. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman Subscribing Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    More I am seeing of the Dual IS.. the more I am seeing the value proposition of this lens over alternative less costly solutions. I hope Olympus have patented the heck out of it

    K
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  12. Mat - MirrorLessons

    Mat - MirrorLessons Mu-43 Veteran

    274
    Mar 10, 2013
    Turin
    It's better to call it Sync IS to avoid confusion with the Panasonic Dual IS on the GX8 :) 
    With birds in flight, you usually pan very fast so I am not sure that you could see a concrete difference. I didn't tried it off and on to see the difference with my earlier BIF shots. With IBIS activated, you can also get the preview in the EVF so I that could help.
     
  13. RMills

    RMills Mu-43 Regular

    94
    Nov 7, 2014
    Thank you Mat, yours and other reviews have sold me on this lens!
     
  14. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman Subscribing Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    Maybe because sometimes people do care about a balanced discussion that goes beyond the 'what is' and looks a little deeper

    K
     
  15. barry13

    barry13 Mu-43.com Editor Subscribing Member

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Barry
    I deleted the previous post due to foul/rude language.
    Keep it civil please.

    Keep in mind this thread is on the home page.

    Barry
     
  16. Tony Rex

    Tony Rex Mu-43 Veteran

    382
    Apr 6, 2015
    Melbourne, Australia.
    Tony Rex
    How come? An edict from the minister of finance (the Missus)?

    I agree with Amin, the price will settle before long. I hope Olympus is serious of bringing this lens' genre to the masses. For me, this lens' biggest rivals are the other PRO lenses (7-14mm and the 8mm Fisheye), not counting the new bodies, Pen-F etc.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2016
    • Like Like x 1
  17. eteless

    eteless Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 20, 2014
    It's more the retail on it locally is $3500 and it's just not cost effective (even if it's fun to have new toys), I'll probably do what I've previously done and pick it up in America if/when I have an opportunity (I purchased my E-5, 12-60, 35-100mm f2.0, 50-200mm, and various other lenses this way at a heavy discount).
     
  18. Tony Rex

    Tony Rex Mu-43 Veteran

    382
    Apr 6, 2015
    Melbourne, Australia.
    Tony Rex
    $3500!? That's brutal mate. Our preorder special is ~$2300 USD. That's why I didn't write this lens off the wish list. And if you're a tourist take off the GST, that's another 10% off. Not too bad for a holiday destination, eh?
     
  19. eteless

    eteless Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 20, 2014
    There's another trick which is buy a lens which has a discount or cash back, the GST returned will generally be off the full retail price of the lens rather than the discounted price.

    I bought a Canon 50mm f1.4 with a 30% off voucher from paypal ($436 -30% = $305) however I got the 10% GST returned on the full price ($43 back, ish), in the end I got a new lens for less than what they sell for second hand.


    I think claiming everything on tax to offset your income is generally the better option, if it's an option :) 
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  20. mcasan

    mcasan Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 26, 2014
    Atlanta
    This is the Native Lenses forum. So obviously the discussions here should be about lenses purpose designed and built as M43 items. There is a seperate forum, Adapted Lenses, for discussions about using non-m43 lenses via adapters..etc. So if someone wants to discuss their experiences, uses cases, business cases....etc. about using 35mm or 43 lenses.....great. But do it in the right forum.
     
    • Agree Agree x 4
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